Amanda Anisimova picked up her second career WTA singles title in a three-set thriller at Melbourne Summer Set 2 on Sunday, defeating Belarusian qualifier Aliaksandra Sasnovich 7-5, 1-6, 6-4.
In the first WTA singles final of the season, the No.78 Anisimova needed 2 hours and 9 minutes to triumph. The American had to fight back from a break down in the third set before prevailing over 107th-ranked Sasnovich, who was seeking her maiden WTA singles title in her third career final.
The champion speaks: "To start off the year playing my first tournament with a title, it's a really amazing feeling," Anisimova said in her post-match press conference.
"I think [Sasnovich] was playing extremely well today, so it was a very difficult match, and I just had to grit my teeth into this one, just fight for every single point.
"And I went down 3-0 in the third set, but she was just playing really well, and if she were to win that match, props to her for playing well, and I couldn't do anything that day. But I just kept fighting, and I'm really happy that I could stay calm and try and play better tennis. I think I started playing more aggressively, and that's what got me my win today, so I'm just extremely happy."
Back to the top: Anisimova won her first title in Bogota in 2019, but the 20-year-old had not made a final since those clay-court exploits nearly three years ago. In fact, prior to this week, Anisimova had not reached a WTA semifinal in exactly two years, when she lost to Serena Williams in the final four at 2020 Auckland.
However, that all turned around in Melbourne, where she became the first American woman to win a title on Australian soil since Sofia Kenin triumphed at the 2020 Australian Open.
Tale of the match: Both players had 11 break points in the affair, and each was relatively successful in converting those chances. It was Anisimova who had seven service breaks to Sasnovich's six, putting her over the top in the deciding set.
Anisimova was down a break in the first set as well, but she charged back from 4-2 down to hold a set point at 5-4. Sasnovich saved that chance with a big forehand, but Anisimova converted her second set point two games later.
Sasnovich then went on a tear, racing through the second set as Anisimova took a medical timeout for her leg. The Belarusian led 3-0 in the third set before Anisimova's powerful play clicked into gear, and the American pulled back on serve at 3-2 after reeling off seven points in a row.
Anisimova saved two break points in the next game to hold for 3-3, then attained the decisive break with overwhelming forehands to lead 5-4 and serve for the match. Anisimova closed out the clash on her second championship point, where she slammed her fourth ace of the day.
In Sunday's Melbourne Summer Set 2 doubles final, No.2 seeds Bernarda Pera of the United States and Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic won the first WTA doubles title of the 2022 season.
Pera and Siniakova defeated the unseeded duo of Tereza Martincova of the Czech Republic and Mayar Sherif of Egypt, 6-2, 6-7(7), [10-5] in 1 hour and 43 minutes.
Siniakova, the current WTA Doubles World No.1 and a three-time Grand Slam champion in women's doubles, picked up her 14th career WTA doubles title.
"It was a lot of good matches [this week], today was a really tough one," Siniakova said, after the match.
The trophy completes a milestone week for Pera. This was the American's first WTA final and title in either singles or doubles.
"A good match today," Pera said. "We had our chances throughout the second set, we didn't take them, but luckily we got the third one."